Up for Growth Action Welcomes New Emergency Rental Assistance Legislation

Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Congressman Denny Heck introduce the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act

May 8, 2020 | Up for Growth
Reading time: 3 minutes min

WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Banking Committee Member Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced new legislation today that will provide up to $100 billion in direct rental assistance for those experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act is similar to Congressman Heck’s Emergency Rental Assistance Act, utilizing the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program to provide states a method for quickly distributing needed aid through a proven and existing program. The legislation acknowledges the staggering number of Americans made financially insecure by COVID-19 by expanding eligibility to those making up to 120% of area median income (AMI).

“Direct financial assistance for the millions of Americans struggling to pay rent is needed now more than ever,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action. “We applaud Ranking Member Brown, Chairwoman Waters, and Congressman Heck for their continued leadership on behalf of the families worried about their ability to balance rent payments with protecting their health and wellbeing during a global pandemic – particularly the millions of Americans who were already rent-burdened or housing insecure. Up for Growth Action and our members across the country encourage Congress to include rental assistance in any future COVID-19 relief package.”

Up for Growth has written extensively on the need for direct rental assistance in response to the economic hardships resulting from COVID-19. Its white paper on securing the housing ecosystem during COVID-19 lists direct rental assistance as a top policy response. Earlier this week, Up for Growth Action joined dozens of other organizations to call for emergency rental assistance in the next round of COVID-19 relief. Recent insights posts explain the need for direct rental assistance, and why state and local action alone is not enough to keep Americans housed and rent checks paid on time.

With the unemployment rate nearing 15% and over 33 million Americans filing for unemployment in recent weeks, emergency rental assistance is needed now more than ever.

Up for Growth Action, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, fosters equitable growth by empowering a diverse member network in advancing research and policy that eliminate structural barriers to housing. You can learn more at http://www.upforgrowth.org.